Recruitment confidence has slumped to its lowest level for nearly two decades.
The quarterly Employment Outlook Survey, which is based on responses from more than 2,200 employers, found hiring confidence had dropped a further 6% on December and 12% year on year.
Seven of the nine industry sectors surveyed report a decline in hiring confidence in the past three months, and eight of the nine show a year-on-year decline.
Mark Cahill, managing director of Manpower UK, said the recession was also having an impact on employer training initiatives.
“Even as employers continue to explore innovative solutions to their shift patterns and working processes, the indications are that this recession may become a longer-term economic challenge,” said Cahill.
“People and their skills will always be a company’s greatest asset and employers need to work hard to retain them where they can. Employers should take the opportunity now to re-skill and retrain workers so they are absolutely best placed for the upturn when it comes,” he added.
However, some sectors, including utilities, agriculture and social services, reported positive hiring intentions in the coming months. The outlook in the construction sector has also improved slightly on last quarter.